The Link Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
The liver produces as much cholesterol as your body needs. It packages cholesterol with fat in whats called very low-density lipoproteins .
As VLDL delivers fat to cells throughout the body, it changes into the more dense LDL, which carries cholesterol wherever it is needed.
The liver also releases HDL, which then carries unused cholesterol back to the liver. This process is called reverse cholesterol transport, and it protects against clogged arteries and other types of heart disease.
Some lipoproteins, especially LDL and VLDL, are prone to damage by free radicals in a process called oxidation. Oxidized LDL and VLDL are even more harmful to heart health .
Although food companies often advertise products as being low in cholesterol, recent research has shown that dietary cholesterol actually has only a small influence on the amount of cholesterol in the body .
This is because the liver changes the amount of cholesterol it makes depending on how much you eat. When your body absorbs more cholesterol from your diet, it makes less in the liver.
Current guidelines by leading U.S. health organizations for lowering risk of heart disease no longer contain specific recommended levels for dietary cholesterol, including the:
- American Heart Association (
- 7 )
The guidelines do recommend moderating cholesterol consumption, but this is more to limit the saturated fat that often accompanies cholesterol in foods than to limit intake of cholesterol itself .
Understanding & Overcoming The Risk Factors
There are many different risk factors associated with having a first heart attack, especially a first heart attack at a relatively young age.
Having high blood pressure and diabetes is one of them. Prolonged stress levels certainly contribute as well.
Smoking is one of the worst habits that anyone can have, and it is certainly a strong factor. People who don’t consume fruits and vegetables every day are also at a higher risk of having a heart attack.
Having too much LDL cholesterol is one of the most important factors.Of course, a lack of daily exercise is one of the most critical predictors of whether or not a person is going to have a heart attack.
Since exercise lowers a person’s risk of diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stress, it is safe to assume that exercise is truly one of the most important factors in whether or not a person is going to have a heart attack.
Having the right health and wellness routine seems to mean having the right exercise routine, especially when it comes to managing cholesterol levels.
What Are The Negative Effects On The Body From High Ldl Cholesterol Levels
There are many illnesses and health concerns that stem from having high total cholesterol levels.
Some health conditions that can be triggered by high cholesterol include:
- Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries and vascular dementia, which can lower brain function.
- Increased risk of heart disease and strokes from plaque buildup on artery walls.
- Angina chest pain that is a result of atherosclerosis restricting blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
And that is to name a few.
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your levels of triglycerides. Along with LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease.
Excess alcohol consumption also increases blood pressure and can lead to obesity both additional risk factors for heart disease.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and other risks from alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
Use Polyunsaturated Fats Especially Omega
Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats. Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
For example, one study replaced saturated fats in 115 adults diets with polyunsaturated fats for 8 weeks. By the end of the study, total and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by about 10% .
Polyunsaturated fats also may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Another study changed the diets of 4,220 adults, replacing 5% of their calories from carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fats. Their blood glucose and fasting insulin levels decreased, indicating a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes .
Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat. Theyre found in seafood and fish oil supplements. Especially high amounts occur in fatty fish like:
- deep sea tuna like bluefin or albacore
- shellfish , including shrimp
Other sources of omega-3s include seeds and tree nuts, but not peanuts.
All polyunsaturated fats are heart-healthy and may reduce the risk of diabetes. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat with extra heart benefits.
Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified by a process called hydrogenation. This is done to make the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils more stable.
The resulting trans fats are not fully saturated and are called partially hydrogenated oils .
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Modify Your Eating Habits
A great way to lower your cholesterol naturally is to start by replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats .
This means becoming a food label reader, says Dr. Cho. Its important to limit your saturated fat intake. There should be no more than 2 grams of fat per serving and it should account for less than 7% of your daily calorie intake.
Saturated fats are most often found in palm oil and coconut oil, along with animal products like beef, pork, chicken skin, hot dogs and regular cheese.
Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
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Dietary And Lifestyle Changes
Dietary and lifestyle adjustments are key to making lasting changes in cholesterol levels.
Although they might not produce results as quickly as medications do, a person may notice their cholesterol levels drop in just a few weeks or months if they stick to a healthy diet and lifestyle plan.
Increase intake of plant foods
A 2017 study found that the people who ate vegetarian diets had significantly lower cholesterol levels than the participants following omnivorous diets.
The authors also note that some targeted diets using plant foods might cause stronger effects. For example, a diet rich in soluble fiber, plant sterols, and vegetable protein sources, such as soy and nuts, reduced LDL cholesterol by an average of 28.6% in just 4 weeks.
People who need to reduce their cholesterol quickly can work with a dietitian to create a targeted diet plan.
Increase fiber intake
While adding plant foods to the diet increases fiber intake naturally, it may also be helpful to take a fiber supplement or over-the-counter fiber drink to support the body.
Fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and may help prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.
Beans: Healthy Pintos And Garbanzos Stand Out
All types of beans and other legumes pinto, red, white, navy, black, garbanzo, lima, and lentil, for example are excellent sources of soluble fiber. Fiber binds to cholesterol-laden bile salts in the small intestine and promotes their excretion along with waste. When this happens, the liver must use more cholesterol to produce more bile salts, therefore lowering the amount of cholesterol available to make LDL.
Still, results of nutrition surveys published in January 2016 in PLoS One show that awareness of the cholesterol-lowering benefits of beans is low. Eating as little as one half cup of cooked pinto beans per day may lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol significantly, noted a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in June 2007.
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Try Taking Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring compound that helps lower LDL cholesterol in the body.
This is because they help reduce inflammation and blood pressure which can lower your risk for heart disease over time.
Studies show that taking Coenzyme Q-CoQ pills may lower LDL cholesterol levels by up to 15%. The best part about this supplement is it does not have any side effects unless you are allergic to seafood!
This is one of many supplements created from natural sources as well, so be sure to speak with a doctor before beginning any new medication or supplementation regimen.
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and regular physical activity, are very important to help reduce high LDL cholesterol.
You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.
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Non-HDL particles tend to stick on the lining of your arteries, where they start to harden and make vessels narrower and stiffer. This is called atherosclerosis. As a result, the heart struggles to send enough blood to vital organs, resulting in high blood pressure. If a chunk of the hardened fat breaks off, it can cause a heart attack or a stroke.
High triglycerides can also contribute to the narrowing of the artery walls and are linked to conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
You can test your triglycerides at the same time when you have a cholesterol test.
People with high triglyceride levels often have a low HDL level as well, but it’s not always the case.
Can My Diet Help My Cholesterol
Eating certain foods can help improve your cholesterol and overall heart health.
The best place to start is to eat a wide variety of plant foods. These include:
Eating plant foods will help you get a range of nutrients, heart-healthy fats and fibre. These all promote optimal heart health.
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Cut Back On Added Sugar
A sugary diet can cause your liver to make more LDL cholesterol while lowering your HDL levels. Excess sugar can also raise your triglycerides and inhibit an enzyme that breaks them down. To prevent this, replace sugary fare with naturally-sweet alternatives. Instead of a bowl of candy, for example, have unsweetened applesauce or a baked pear. When you do indulge in high-sugar treats, stick to modest portions.
Can I Eat Fish
Oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and herring are best. Dr. Cho recommends aiming for 2 servings per week.
You can supplement with fish oil, but be careful because very high doses of pure fish oil can lower your triglyceride levels and increase your good cholesterol, she says. It doesnt lower your LDL, though. Be sure to read your fish oil supplement label.
When reading the label of your fish oil bottle, look out for the EPA plus DHA in each serving since those are the effective ingredients. For example, if your fish oil says 1000 mg of fish oil but only contains 300 mg of EPA and DHA, know that youre taking 700 mg of unnecessary fish blubber. Make sure youre choosing fish oil with the highest amount of EPA plus DHA in each pill.
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How To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
Experts are learning that no one plan fits everyone. This advice will help you determine whats best for you.
With age, our bad cholesterol levels are more likely to rise and our good cholesterol tends to drop to lower than ideal. Weve long known that this can hike the risks of cardiovascular disease . Lifestyle habits, such as exercising and following a heart-healthy diet, are important but cant always lower cholesterol enough. So medication, notably a statinthe most common type of cholesterol drugis often added. This group of drugs includes atorvastatin , fluvastatin , lovastatin , pitavastatin , pravastatin , rosuvastatin , and simvastatin .
Still, questions remain. Older adults often take multiple medications, which may interact with statins. And for some people 75 and older, the potential for side effects may outweigh the benefits, especially when cholesterol levels are only slightly abnormal, says Michael Hochman, MD, MPH, an internal medicine physician at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles. So many cardiologists and internists have moved toward more personalized cholesterol management, where they discuss their patients overall health and preferences. Theres no one set of rules for all older adults, Weintraub says. Heres what to know about how to lower cholesterol, whatever your age.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol With Medicines
As well as making lifestyle changes, some people will need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce their risk of heart and blood vessel disease, known as cardiovascular disease. The medicines most commonly used are called statins.
Your doctor will consider all your risk factors for cardiovascular disease before suggesting medication not just your cholesterol and lipid results. If youve already had a heart attack or stroke, taking statins can substantially lower your risk of having another one.
Statins work by slowing the amount of cholesterol made in your liver. In response, your liver uses the cholesterol already in your blood to make up for the deficit. This lowers the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
If statins alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may need additional medicines.
Contact your doctor if your medicines are causing any side effects.
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How To Lower Cholesterol And Triglycerides
Triglycerides are a type of lipid, or fat, your body produces to store extra calories and provide energy. Cholesterol is another lipid that circulates in your blood. Your body uses cholesterol to build cells and produce hormones.
Both triglycerides and cholesterol are essential for your health but having levels that are too high puts your health at risk. Living a healthy lifestyle helps to keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels within a normal range.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Some causes of high blood cholesterol include:
- Low intake of foods containing healthy fats healthy fats tend to increase the good cholesterol.
- High intake of foods containing unhealthy fats such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products . Foods high in trans-fats include most commercially baked products and deep-fried takeaway foods.
- Low intake of foods containing fibre foods that are high in dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre, can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Include fibre-containing foods in your diet by choosing vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, nuts and seeds every day.
- Cholesterol in food this has only a small effect on LDL cholesterol -saturated fats and trans-fats in food have a much greater effect.
- You can also eat up to 7 eggs a week as part of a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated and trans-fats, without increasing your risk of heart disease.
Some people will have high cholesterol even if they follow a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans-fats. These people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicine as prescribed by their doctor.
When To Consider A Statin
Generally speaking, the American College of Cardiology and the AHA advise statins for:
Adults of any age with CVD with atherosclerosis or a past heart attack or stroke. The goal is to get your LDL under 70, and even lower is better, says Steven Nissen, MD, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. If you already have heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke, aim for at least under 70, he says. Under 55 is ideal.
Many adults with type 2 diabetes. For those between ages 40 and 75, the ACC and AHA advise moderate-intensity doses of statins like atorvastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, or simvastatin, and high-intensity doses of statins like atorvastatin or rosuvastatin for those with multiple risk factors for CVD . Over age 75, the groups say that a statin might be reasonable if youve discussed the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Adults ages 40 to 70 with an LDL level of 190 or above. In this case, the AHA-ACC recommends the highest-dose statin you can safely tolerate.
Simple Ways To Naturally Lower Cholesterol Levels
What is cholesterol and how do you lower cholesterol without taking drugs prescribed from your doctor?
Cholesterol, a waxy substance that the body uses to make hormones and other important substances. Its also found in some foods such as eggs, meat, poultry, and whole-milk dairy products.
The level of cholesterol in your blood is called blood cholesterol. If its too high over time, you may develop heart disease or stroke.
We have all heard that having a high cholesterol level can lead to many life-threatening conditions, but did you know that there is good and bad cholesterol?
The good cholesterol is called HDL Cholesterol, while the bad is called LDL Cholesterol.
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